Study finds mainstream pop music keeps getting sadder

Singers like Adele have contributed to the sad-ifying of pop music

Singers like Adele have contributed to the sad-ifying of pop music

As Associated Press reports, the research for the Royal Society Open Science by the University of California at Irvine saw 500,000 songs studied that were released in the United Kingdom between 1985-2015, before grouping them according to their mood. Well it might not be the shitty, shock-jock banter but more so the music getting you down, with a new study showing that pop music is now sadder than ever.

Of course, the researchers emphasize that a gradual decrease in the average "happiness" index does not mean that all successful songs in 1985 were happy and all successful songs in 2015 were sad. This period has seen "successful songs [be] characterized by a large percentage of female artists compared to all songs", Komarova also said.

A previous study covering 1980-2007 found that music lyrics have become more self-centered, with increased use of the words "me" and "I", fewer social words such as "we", and more anti-social ones such as "hate" and "kill".

That finding comes at a time when the music industry is wrestling with the issue of gender inequality, and men overwhelmingly dominate the ranks of artists and songwriters. Songs with a low-happiness index in 2014 that were very popular were "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith, "Whispers" by Passenger and "Unmissable" by Gorgon City.

"In a way it could, if they look at the trends that we found and try to follow them", study co-author Natalia Komarova told AFP.

The report also confirmed the spiralling popularity of rock music saying that there is a "clear downward trend" for the genre while pop and dance have risen in popularity.